Domestic Cleaning Tutorial: How to Clean a Washing Machine

Are you sick and tired of having your washing machine incessantly attacked by small bits of organic materials like food and fibres, most of them stuck inside nooks and crannies? On top of that, the high temperature and the moisture of the laundry process itself result in the slow but steady forming of mould and mildew. The latter happens after neglecting some hard-to-reach areas. The detergents also make the matters worse when they combine with hard water. Leave the forming of such build-ups unchecked and soon you will be sorry. The price will be a less than efficient washing machine.

Just a few inexpensive and easy to find ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry are all the requirements for making your machine look shiny, just like after a visit of domestic cleaner:

  • white vinegar (apple vinegar also works)
  • baking soda
  • hydrogen peroxide (optional; use if you have mould)
  • rag (or a damp cloth)
  • toothbrush

Start with the aforementioned nooks and crannies, outside the drum, where most bits get stuck. Proceed with a piece of cloth soaked in a mixture of 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 1/3 cup white vinegar. Make sure you don't use anything abrasive on the glass or enamel as it can leave scratches. Also, go dip any dismantled parts in a 2 to 1 water to vinegar solution.

Clean the Front Loader

A shaped sheet or ring of rubber called gasket seals the junction of most front loaders. The most intuitive clean-up you can use is to get a toothbrush and get on the hard-to-reach spots. If you find too many stubborn bits, mould or mildew, apply hydrogen peroxide (with cloth or the toothbrush) to eradicate the spores.

Cleansing the Drum and the Rest of the Inside

Once you're finished with the outside, move to the inside. Here you can use 1/3 cup baking soda mixed with water and wipe the drum in order to neutralise odour and let loose the soap scum.

Next comes a complete running cycle with white vinegar. You need one or two cups of the substance, depending on the size of your washing machine itself. The acidic properties of white vinegar will help you remove hard water deposits, soap scum and disinfect the drum. So, set your machine on the sanitise or hottest cycle, full-load setting, and run the cycle without any clothes in it.

When the cycle is complete, check the interior of the machine and wipe away any particles that may have come loose during the cycle. For safe results, repeat this thorough cleaning procedure monthly or once per two months.

How to Clean a Top Loader

First fill your washing machine with with hot water (run without clothes). Stop the cycle after it's full and add 3 cups vinegar and stir or agitate the machine. Then add half a cup baking soda, stir, and wait for one hour before you resume the cycle. While you're waiting, use the mixture inside the machine as your exterior cleaning solution. With a piece of cloth and toothbrush, wipe down the exterior and rub the hard-to-reach spots intensively. You can also use the cycle to soak any removable parts, while you clean the outside in the meantime. When you're done, close the lid and continue the wash cycle.